Newcastle are closing in on the signings of two players today – Palermo left-back Achraf Lazaar and Chelsea right winger Christian Atsu.
In yesterday’s press conference for the game against Brighton today, some of those names were brought up to Rafa Benitez, but of course he didn’t take the bait and refused to talk about specific players Newcastle may be after.
It still looks like Rafa wants a left back, a winger and a striker brought in before Thursday and if we can get those two players through the door it will only leave a striker to be brought in.
24 year-old Palermo left-back Achraf Lazaar
Newcastle have been heavily linked with 22 year-old Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller over the last couple of weeks and he could be arriving soon.
Moroccan International Lazaar could be the first through the door with news yesterday that he has agreed a five year deal at just £3M and there were some reports last night he is on his way to Newcastle for a medical.
That follows a meeting in Newcastle yesterday between Managing Director Lee Charnley and Lazaar’s agent.
The full-back is in the final year of his contract at Palermo and will leave the club this summer.
Newcastle have also been linked with Chelsea winger Christian Atsu for a couple of days now, with those rumors intensifying and Rafa wants the winger on loan for the season with an option to buy.
The Ghanaian International was the Player of the Tournament and scored the Goal of the Tournament in the 2015 African Cup of Nations and he looks a good player.
24 year-old Chelsea winger Christian Atsu
Chelsea paid £3.5M for him when he signed on from Porto two years ago.
Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller has played for all of the French Youth sides including 14 appearances for the U-21 side with 9 goals and there was news yesterday that Newcastle may have bid £6M for the young French striker, but it was turned down.
If that’s true, we would expect Newcastle to increase the bid and there was news earlier in the week that Rafa has talked personally with the Frenchman about joining Newcastle.
22 year-old Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller
He joined Utrecht last summer from Auxerre and scored 24 goals in 40 appearances last season and in 57 total appearances for Utrecht he has scored 35 goals over the last 18 months.
Those certainly seem to be the three players Newcastle are closest to signing, but there could always be some surprises.
27 year-old Brentford midfielder Alan Judge
Negotiations are also said to be ongoing with Brentford midfielder Alan Judge, but it’s not clear if Newcastle want to sign the 27 year-old now or wait until the double fracture of his right leg has fully healed.
Brentford manager Dean Smith thinks Judge will still be at Brentford come September, but Newcastle could sign a pre-contract agreement and sign the Irish International in January – that’s always a possibility.
Rafa hinted at deals in the offing yesterday when he said this:
“We are trying very hard and we have been monitoring players, but sometimes it depends on offers, wages, agents.”
“We can afford players if it is necessary, but sometimes it is not easy because they won’t come to the Championship or they are in the Champions League.”
“We have to do some deals.”
Getting those three players in and Alan Judge too would be another four very good signings for Newcastle and our squad would look very strong.
What do you think?